Tag Archive | poem

Book Launch: Darker Places

A few years ago I met this wonderful author, Shaun Allan, and today his newest book, Darker Places is launched into the public sphere. He writes mainly in the horror genre and belongs to Myrddin Publishing Group – the same group as me.


Darker Places Cover



What if you could steal the final moments from the dying?  What if you had the darkest secret, but couldn’t think what it might be?  What if you entered the forest in the deep of the night.  Who is the melting man?  And are your neighbours really whom they appear to be?

So many questions.

To find the answers, you must enter a darker place.  Thirteen stories.  Thirteen poems.  Thirteen more doorways.


Amazon (universal): http://getbook.at/DarkerPlacesEbook

Smashwords: http://bit.ly/DarkerPlacesSW

Kobo: http://bit.ly/DarkerPlacesKobo

iTunes:  http://bit.ly/DarkerPlacesiTunes

About the Author

Shaun Allan headshot

A writer of many prize winning short stories and poems, Shaun Allan has written for more years than he would perhaps care to remember. Having once run an online poetry and prose magazine, he has appeared on Sky television to debate, against a major literary agent, the pros and cons of internet publishing as opposed to the more traditional method. Many of his personal experiences and memories are woven into Sin’s point of view and sense of humour although he can’t, at this point, teleport.


Creepy Tales for Boyz and Ghouls

As I’m sure some of my regular followers will know, I belong to Writebulb Writers Group. Last year we published a charity anthology called The Other Way is Essex, raising money for a local hospice. Well… we’ve done it again!

With a planned summer release date, we chose the theme to match the Summer Read run by libraries throughout the UK to entertain kids during the Summer Holidays. Creepy Tales for Boyz and Ghouls is the result. It is a spooky children’s anthology for kids aged 6-11, and will have them fluctuating between fear and laughter from story to poem.


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00014]



What would you do if you found monsters in your mum’s underwear? How would you stop a bunch of mischief-loving goblins? If there was a ghost in your house, what would you do?

With fifteen creepy tales and poems this book is full of spine-tingling thrills, frights and fun.

Do you dare to look inside?


Once again, this anthology funds a local charity – Farleigh Hospice, who have a dedicated room for children.

About Farleigh Hospice

In 2006, thanks to a donation by BBC Children in Need, Farleigh Hospice began work on a new children’s room; a room where young children can come to understand and accept what is happening in their lives. Many of Farleigh Hospice’s wide-ranging patients have young children and grandchildren. This new children’s room is a place those children can relax and get the support they need. Experienced bereavement workers are there to provide counseling to the children; not just those who lose a loved one through Farleigh Hospice, but all children in Mid Essex who have suffered a loss. In this room, children have the chance to come to terms with everything, and have the opportunity to start recovering. They even have fun in the occasional parties Farleigh Hospice throws for the children and their families.

To cover demand, Farleigh Hospice need to extend these services and can only do so through fundraising.


This book is available now!

Amazon UK Kindle: http://amzn.to/18IT41r

Amazon US Kindle: http://amzn.to/11luJZY

Amazon UK paperback: http://amzn.to/1aSy1GW

Amazon US paperback: http://amzn.to/19szOEL


Essex front only copy

If you want to buy copies of our previous charity anthology The Other Way is Essex, please follow the links below.

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/UCzB6l

Amazon US: http://bit.ly/EssexUS


About the Group

Writebulb is an open, supportive community of writers based in Chelmsford, Essex dedicated to developing their writing skills. Filled with people of all ages and abilities, they are determined to be the best they can. Through these anthologies, they learn to write and experiment in new genres, as well as gaining valuable knowledge in how to edit and revise their work. No two people in Writebulb are identical, and no two meetings are either. All their published anthologies raise money for charities.

They can be found on their blog at: http://write-bulb.blogspot.co.uk/


Cover Reveal!

Well… it’s that time again. Time to drive all my lovely readers insane!

I’m sure you remember a competition I advertised a couple of weeks ago. My good friend, author Carlie M. A. Cullen, was looking for a name for one of the characters in her upcoming sequel Heart Search: Found. She obviously found one she liked, because she’s pushing full-steam ahead to launch it!

Today, on various blogs, the cover of book 2 is being unveiled!




One bite started it all . . .

Another mysterious disappearance sparks a frightening chain of events for Remy and her family. Events foretold come to pass, and more strange and alarming occurrences assail her life. Where can she turn?

Coven politics continue to threaten Joshua’s existence, but an even bigger menace looms . . .

And Remy’s life hangs in the balance – can Joshua save her?

Fate still toys with mortals and immortals alike, as hearts torn apart by darkness confront perils which could lead to their doom.


What would a reveal be without a little teaser to whet your appetite?

As you will know if you’ve read book 1 – Heart Search: Lost, there was an opening poem, written specially for the book by yours truly. That poem highlighted the most key theme in the book. So, to get things going, here’s the opening poem for book 2.


An unexpected caller,

her familiar face;

careworn and drawn.


My fingers twitch; her hair curls,

obscures her sight.

Car keys jingle, she trembles;

my hand reaches for her – drops.


Pain; heartbreak shines

in her eyes, reflecting mine.

Guilt shreds my frozen heart

burns clear the ice

encasing my love.


A gulf between us,

insurmountable differences.

Outside agents conspired,

innocents crushed.


As hearts leap the chasm,

bodies forcibly divided

yearn to be united.


A little obscure, isn’t it? I must admit, I do want to get you thinking. When you look closely at a poem you can often find a lot more than you first thought.

But… that’s not the only part you get to see. Check out the following blogs below, who are also involved in the reveal today – some even have a small excerpt from the book!

Donna L Sadd

Joy Keeney

Sherry Fundin

Deborah Jay

And you must check out the author’s blog – Carlie M. A. Cullen has a special treat for all her readers. She has unveiled the prologue as well as the cover!

Keep an eye out… The trailer won’t be too far away!

If you’ve missed out on book 1 – Heart Search: Lost, or the anthology The Other Way is Essex, click on the images below, which will take you directly to their Amazon pages.

Heart Search Test Cover 300ppi     Essex front only copy









Carlie M. A. CullenHEADSHOT

Carlie M A Cullen was born in London. She grew up in Hertfordshire where she first discovered her love of books and writing. She has been an administrator and marketer all her working life and was also a professional teacher of Ballroom and Latin American dancing until recently.

She has always written in some form or another, but Heart Search: Lost is her first novel. This was launched 8th October 2012 through Myrddin Publishing Group and book two, Heart Search: Found, is due out early July 2013. She writes mainly in the Fantasy/Paranormal Romance genres for YA, New Adult and Adult.

Carlie is also a professional editor.

Carlie also holds the reins of a writing group called Writebulb. Their first anthology, The Other Way Is Essex, was published September 2012 under Myrddin Publishing Group. Their second anthology, Creepy Tales for Boyz and Ghouls, is in editing.

Carlie currently lives in Essex, UK with her daughter.


If you want to stalk/find her, check out the links below.

Website: http://carliemacullen.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/carlie2011c

Facebook: Carlie M A Cullen


Competition Results

As you may be aware, I ran a modern poetry competition in December in celebration of my new anthology, Hearts & Minds. The winning entry was made by James Bicheno and is showcased below.


When the Snows Came

Clouds are frozen in the sky
While chimneys hover above the roofs
Tree branches are held down, white clumps replacing old leaves
That once swayed in their deep, green glory, now black and shrivelled on the ground
Decaying under the frosted shroud
Gleaming icicles hang like daggers above the windows and doors
Others hang out on the washing line, blown by the icy breeze
And routes are marked out by the grips of shoes
Crunching their way along roads reclaimed from cars buried tyre-deep
Surrounded by three small lines from the birds’ feet
All watched by the small light sun sitting in the far distance.

This is a good example of modern poetry – it focuses on images, using them to hint at deeper meanings while allowing the reader to determine what they will. Some of you will look at this poem and simply see the images he shows. I look at it and see the wintery state, and the stranded cars, as a symbol of death; and the routes marked out by shoes as a reflection of man’s dogged refusal to accept the inevitable, and his courage in striding out. It also shows the strength of nature, as a fragile person can move around in such conditions when the technology of the trapped cars cannot.

You can tell from reading this, that he did not just write it and submit it. He has taken the time to edit and hone this poem. Poetry doesn’t come out fully formed, it often has to be revised, many times, before it is ready.

Thank you to everyone that entered. All the poems were good and it was difficult to choose the winner. For those that weren’t chosen – do not get discouraged. Keep writing and good luck for the future!


I promised that I would run a competition in honour of my book launch, and here it is.


To write a poem in the modern style.  To enter, please fill out the form below. For tips, please see my post on writing modern poetry here: http://wp.me/p2wsj4-29

The winner will have their poem showcased on my website and will receive a free ebook copy of my new poetry anthology Hearts & Minds.

Closing date: 31st December 2012

The winner will be notified by email in the New Year.


To enter, you must be an amateur poet. No one that has published in their own right may enter. Only one entry per person permitted. Should anyone enter multiple poems, only the first will be taken into consideration.

Good luck!

Modern Poetry: What Makes a Good Poem Great

How do you write a good poem these days? Always before there were rules that needed to be followed; a strict meter, a defined stanza length, a set rhyming pattern, and the poems seemed to contain more of a narrative. These days everything is the opposite. Rhyming is frowned upon, and stanzas have become loose; writer-defined lengths and meters. I struggled with this once. After reading John Milton’s Paradise Lost in University, I decided to try writing my own version of the fall from grace in a more modern style, yet keeping the original perspective – Satan. Here is stanza 2 from a poem that takes just over 2 pages.


My eyes swept across the land, encompassing

The outer edges of Paradise, and

The band of Cherubim guarding the gates.

I leapt off the mountain, landing gracefully

At the Western edge of Paradise, my six

Wings flaring as I bounded over the wall

Of rock at its lowest point.

The sun shone down at its zenith, bathing

The land in its warm glow, turning

Everything a glittering green-yellow as

It filtered through the foliage of the trees.

I walked past the roses, red as fresh blood,

Refusing to inhale their heady scent,

Past the trees which lie at the centre

Of that garden, the smell of one so familiar,

The scent of home, the apples of Heaven,

The Fruit of Life, my heart ached at

That fragrance, and I grew cold.


This is a bad example of modern poetry. There is too much narrative going on here, and it reads like prose cut up into lines. Prose can be a good place to start, to get the idea in your head if you struggle to write poetry, but you don’t want to be bound by this early attempt. It is also too literal, poems these days have hidden meanings; you don’t want to spell it out for the reader, you want them to discover the meaning for themselves – that way it means more to them since everyone will read a piece slightly differently. Also you never want to start a modern poem with capital letters. In a modern poem, capital letters follow the prose rules; they are for the first line only, unless you have a full stop in which case you have one on the next word.

I gave the poem another attempt, this time disguising the theme of Original Sin within a modern setting.


The path glittered beside us

yellow, green as we lay

on a bed of pine needles.

My blood pumped hard

through my adolescent body.

I caressed her strong muscled thigh

in the late afternoon sunshine.


The plucked red rose

rested on her bosom,

blood petals strewn around her.

She inhaled its heady scent;

enchanter of the woods.


The apple from the hidden tree

lay discarded and broken.


Need to return her home,

past Sunday curfew,

she just lies there free

from the rules of society.


My lips brush this unadorned Venus,

savour the taste

of that apple on my lips

and wish I could have it

once more.


This is a good example of a modern poem. There are only capital letters at the beginning and after a full stop, the stanza length is uneven – specified by the poem and the individual sections, and the meaning is slightly veiled. There is still a narrative here – which I think is needed, though not everyone will agree – but it no longer reads like chopped-up prose. The trick to modern poetry is in the images. Do not tell the story, show it to them and let them work it out for themselves. Do not tell them “She lost her virginity”, show them “The plucked red rose/ rested on her bosom, /blood petals strewn around her.”

Although I updated the setting of this poem, I still kept the integral parts of Paradise in there. They are still surrounded by nature, there is still a hidden tree with an apple; however these have become symbols and the apple, as it always has, represents her innocence and her virginity. You need to try and find new images to show something which is why I used the image of the rose. Yet this is a double meaning line, many people will read it simply as a rose, so I included the short stanza below with more traditional imagery to reinforce the message “The apple from the hidden tree/lay discarded and broken.”

Each poem will be unique. Don’t try to force it into a mould, let the mould flow around it. Each of my stanzas are determined by the imagery, the sections of the narrative. I did not decide in advance what the format would be; I told the story and let it fall where it was meant to.